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Reign send Mathias to Courage, sign Danish defender Nielsen

Merritt Mathias is on her way to North Carolina (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

The Seattle Reign’s busy week continued on Wednesday when they sent Merritt Mathias to the North Carolina Courage and signed Danish defender Theresa Nielsen. To complete the Mathias trade the Reign also sent their 2nd round pick in 2019 to the Courage and received the Courage’s 1st round pick.

“Merritt is a proven professional and has aspirations to play at the international level,” Courage head coach Paul Riley said. “She is powerful, quick and will provide a fantastic attacking spark out of the back. I drafted her in WPS, so I know her qualities. Love her mindset, final third prowess, and desire to push the envelope. The fans will embrace her attitude, bite and tenacity. Certainly a huge addition to our squad, and we look forward to getting the best out of her performance”

{BREAKERS COVERAGE: Lauletta | Halloran}

In five NWSL seasons in Kansas City and Seattle, Mathias has split time between right back and as a defensive-minded forward. She could fill the void left at right back in North Carolina with the trade of Taylor Smith to the Spirit. Riley also added depth in Tuesday’s dispersal draft with the addition of defenders Julie King and Allysha Chapman. Mathias was part of FC Kansas City’s 2014 NWSL Championship team and the Reigns 2015 Shield winning team.

Nielsen appears to be the Reign’s choice as right back for 2018. The 31-year old played there for Denmark on their road to the final match of the European Championships last summer.

“Theresa was one of the players on my wish list when I accepted the job in Seattle,” Reign coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “Her ability to attack from the back is what is going to make us more dangerous as a team.”

Andonovski has rebuilt his entire back line this month. Tuesday he selected Megan Oyster with the 3rd pick in the Boston Breakers dispersal draft. He previously acquired Yael Averbuch and Steph Catley.

The Reign also waived Rachel Corsie on Wednesday.


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